May 14, 2019 05:00 UTC
The US Air Force awarded Boeing an $11.2 million contract in support of the F-15. The F-15 Eagle is the Air Force’s primary fighter jet. It has electronic systems and weaponry for detecting, acquiring, tracking and attacking enemy aircraft while operating in either friendly or enemy-controlled airspace. The contract provides for post-production support tasks/services unique to the original equipment manufacturer as required to maintain an adequate level of continuous sustaining engineering and logistics support for the Air Force and Foreign Military Sales. FMS include Saudi Arabia and Israel. Boeing is finishing a major 2009 F-15 order from Saudi Arabia. The Royal Saudi Air Force has the third largest number of F-15s in its fleet, behind Japan and the United States. The USAF has requested $7.8 billion for eight F-15s next year and 72 in the four years after that. Boeing will perform work in St. Louis and is expecting completion by November 9, 2027.
The MQ-4C Triton’s development cost grew 2% from FY 2018. It is now predicted that the UAVs will cost 61% more than initially estimated, Jane’sreports. The Triton is based on the Global Hawk UAS. It provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions. The UAV will support a wide range of missions including maritime ISR patrol, signals intelligence, search and rescue and communications relay. The aircraft can fly over 24 hours at a time, at altitudes higher than 10 miles, with an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles. The first flight of the Triton took place on May 22, 2013. According to the Government Accountability Office’s annual weapon system assessment, the current cost estimate for the Triton, in FY 2019 is $5.7 billion. The original estimate from 2009 was $3.5 billion. Reportedly, issues with wing production posed continued risk to the Triton’s production schedule, quality, and cost.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey’s largest military exercise, called Sea Wolf, started on Monday. It will run through May 25 in the eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea. Supervised by the Turkish Navy, 131 warships, 57 warplanes and 33 helicopters will participate in the exercise. High-level submarines, frigates, naval artilleries, armed UAVs, as well as search and rescue units will also participate. Domestic and national weapon systems including high-speed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Simsek and anti-surface defense boat Albatros will hold drills. The exercise is conducted amid tensions between Greek and Turkey. On Sunday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which it claimed that Greece does not respect the demilitarized status of the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea. The statement further called on all NATO warships and vessels currently operating in the region to refrain from using Greek island ports eastern Aegean for visits and refueling.
The first of three upgraded F-16s for the Portuguese Air Force arrived in Portugal on May 9. The Air Force operates a total of 45 F-16A/B block 15 aircraft. The delivered aircraft was the first of two single-seat F-16AMs, the second of which is scheduled for delivery in late July, to be followed by a twin-seat F-16BM in late 2019. Portugal received its very first F-16 in 1993. The F-16 gradually replaced the A-7P Corsair II, initially in the air defense role and later also in the ground attack role, with the last Portuguese Corsair II aircraft being retired in 1999.
Spanish systems and sensors house Indra won a contract to supply the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom with an advanced long-range air defense deployable radar. The Indra LTR25 L-band radar offers very high long-range detection capabilities, comparable to those of larger fixed radars, but with the added advantage of being able to operate very quickly and be transported in small aircraft, such as the C130. Indra is a leading company in the development of radars and one of the main suppliers of this type of solutions for NATO. The company has won all the tenders awarded by the Alliance in the last five years. Its systems also cover surveillance of the whole south-western flank of Europe. Indra has delivered over 50 radars in total to countries from five continents.
According to reports, a Japan-based American F-35B had to abort take-off due to a bird strike. The aircraft with Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing likely suffered $2 million in damages. The incident, classified as a Class A Mishap, is currently under investigation and a complete damage assessment is underway. The bird strike happened near Iwakuni, Japan.
Watch: US Navy is eyeing a big change to its new stealth-Battleship
May 13, 2019 05:00 UTC
United Launch Services won a $149.4 million modification in support of National Security Launch delta IV heavy launch services. The modification is for the National Reconnaissance Office mission NROL-68, the second of three missions awarded to ULA under the Launch Vehicle Production Services contract in October 2018. The deal provides for a Delta IV heavy-lift rocket variant for the US Air Force’s National Security Space Launch program. ULA was awarded three NRO missions in October— NROL-91, NROL-68, and NROL-70 — scheduled to launch in fiscal year 2022, 2023 and 2024 respectively. Work under the modification will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and company sites in Colorado and Alabama. The scheduled completion date is in December 2022.
The Navy awarded Rolls-Royce an $8.6 million contract modification in order to procure 10 MT7 marin turbine installation parts kit shipsets for the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 100 class craft. The LCAC 100 will enhance the US amphibious force’s ship-to-shore capacity with a rated load capacity per craft of 74 short tonnes. LCAC-1s have a 60-short tonne-rated payload. The landing craft was originally designated the Ship-to-Shore Connector and is intended to support the rapid movement of Marine expeditionary forces from naval vessels to shore and will be able to tactically deliver personnel and heavy equipment. The LCAC 100 craft consists of four MT7 turbines. The Rolls-Royce MT7 delivers between 4 to 5 MW and shares common core architecture with the AE1107C-Liberty aero engine. The procurement is in support of the Ship-to-Shore Connector Program. An MT7 installation parts kit is one “shipset” consisting of four engine intakes, two right-hand engine exhausts and two left-hand engine exhausts. Work will take place in Indiana and is expected to be finished by January 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Northrop Grumman won a $7.2 million modification for the procurement of up to 42 additional technical refresh mission computers for the AH-1Z aircraft in support of the government of Bahrain. In November, Bahrain confirmed an order of 12 Bell AH-1Z Vipers worth $912 million. Along with the helicopters, which will be delivered starting in late 2022, the US government also gave the go-ahead for a series of munitions to be supplied. The modification of the Foreign Military Sale includes trainer units and spare units. Northrop will perform work in Utah, Maryland, and California and is expected to finish work in December 2023.
The State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Qatar for 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. The deal is worth $3 billion. The proposed sale would double Qatar’s previous procurement of AH-64Es, which are used for close air support, armed reconnaissance, and anti-tank warfare missions. Included in the sale are the 24 helicopter bodies; 52 T700-GE-701D engines; 26 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight; 26 AN/AAQ-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors; 2,500 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; 28 M230 30mm automatic chain guns; and other equipment and training. The notification does not guarantee a final sale. Congress can still weigh in, and once cleared by Capitol Hill, negotiations between customer and supplier often lead to different prices or quantities.
Leonardo had a strong start into the 2019 financial year, according to a report published by the company on May 8. The most striking contributor to Leonardo’s improved first quarter performance was its Defence Electronics and Security division. Revenues generated in the period rose to $3.1 million, a year- on-year increase of 11.2%, while the company’s earnings before interest, tax, and amortization (EBITA) were up 6.5% at $183.1 million. In particular, defense electronics and security business secured orders worth $1.7 billion, up 56 percent year-on-year, while helicopters won contracts for $773 million, with an increase of 13 percent.
The first batch of four Korean amphibious assault vehicles (KAAVs) arrived in the Philippines. The Philippine’s Department of National Defense ordered the Hanwha Defense Systems KAAV7A1 vehicles for the Philippine Marine Corps. The vehicles that have arrived in the Asian country are part of a $46 million contract that was signed between the Philippine government and South Korean defense firm Hanwha Techwin in April 2016. The firm, which was formerly known as Samsung Techwin, confirmed the contract after it emerged as the sole bidder for Manila’s AAV procurement program. The next batch of four more KAAV7A1 is said to be delivered by August this year, and are in advanced stages of construction.
Watch: Boeing Unveils New Version of F/A-18 Super Hornet Developed for U.S. Navy
May 13, 2019 04:58 UTC
United Launch Services won
a $149.4 million modification in support of National Security Launch delta IV
heavy launch services. The modification is for the National Reconnaissance Office mission NROL-68, the second of three missions awarded to ULA under the Launch Vehicle Production Services contract in October 2018. The deal provides for a Delta IV heavy-lift rocket variant for the US Air Force’s National Security Space Launch program. ULA was awarded three NRO missions in October— NROL-91, NROL-68, and NROL-70 — scheduled to launch in fiscal year 2022, 2023 and 2024 respectively. Work under the modification will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and company sites in Colorado and Alabama. The scheduled completion date is in December 2022.
Boeing Delta IV Heavy
The EELV program was designed to reduce the cost of government space launches through greater contractor competition, and modifiable rocket families whose system requirements emphasized simplicity, commonality, standardization, new applications of existing technology, streamlined manufacturing capabilities, and more efficient launch-site processing. Result: the Delta IV (Boeing) and Atlas V (Lockheed Martin) heavy rockets.
Paradoxically, that very program may have forced the October 2006 merger of Boeing & Lockheed Martin’s rocket divisions. Crosslink Magazine’s Winter 2004 article “EELV: The Next Stage of Space Launch” offers an excellent briefing that covers EELV’s program innovations and results, while a detailed National Taxpayer’s Union letter to Congress takes a much less positive view. This DID Spotlight article looks at the Delta IV and Atlas V rockets, emerging challengers like SpaceX and the new competition framework, and the US government contracts placed since the merger that formed the United Launch Alliance.
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May 13, 2019 04:56 UTC
The Navy awarded
Rolls-Royce an $8.6 million contract modification in order to procure 10 MT7 marin turbine installation parts kit shipsets for the Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 100 class craft. The LCAC 100
will enhance the US amphibious force’s ship-to-shore capacity with a rated load capacity per craft of 74 short tonnes. LCAC-1s have a 60-short tonne-rated payload. The landing craft was originally designated the Ship-to-Shore Connector and is intended to support the rapid movement of Marine expeditionary forces from naval vessels to shore and will be able to tactically deliver personnel and heavy equipment. The LCAC 100 craft consists of four MT7 turbines. The Rolls-Royce MT7 delivers between 4 to 5 MW and shares common core architecture with the AE1107C-Liberty aero engine. The procurement is in support of the Ship-to-Shore Connector Program. An MT7 installation parts kit is one “shipset” consisting of four engine intakes, two right-hand engine exhausts and two left-hand engine exhausts. Work will take place in Indiana and is expected to be finished by January 2021.
The US military calls them Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC). They’re high-speed, fully amphibious hovercraft capable of carrying a 60-ton payload (75 tons in overload) over water and land at speeds in excess of 40 knots and a nominal range of up to 200 nautical miles. Carrying equipment, troops, and/or supplies, the LCAC launches from inside the well deck of an amphibious warship, then travels the waves at high speed, runs right through the surf zone near the beach, and stops at a suitable place on land. Its cargo walks or rolls off. The LCAC returns to the surf to pick up more. Rinse. Agitate. Repeat.
A total of 91 LCACs were built between 1984-2001, and their design itself dates back to the 1970s. They require regular maintenance, refurbishment, upgrades, and even life extension programs to keep them operational into the future. This free-to-view Spotlight article will covers the program from 2005 forward, tracking contracts and key events.
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May 10, 2019 05:00 UTC
Raytheon won a $15.3 million contract in support of the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). The deal includes design agent and engineering service efforts. According to Raytheon, the CEC program provides a sensor network with integrated fire control capability that significantly improves strike force air and missile defense capabilities by coordinating measurement data from strike force air search sensors on CEC-equipped units into a single, integrated real-time, composite track air picture. CEC improves battle force effectiveness by improving overall situational awareness and by enabling longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies. CEC will be designed to help the military service coordinate measurement data from sensors during strike force air search missions and facilitate battle force situational awareness. Raytheon will perform work in Florida. The scheduled completion date is in September 2022.
The US Navy awarded L3 Technology a $14.1 million contract modification for MK 20 MOD 1 Electro-Optical Sensor Systems, which is a major component of the MK 34 Gun Weapon Systems employed by the DDG 51 class, CG 47 class and the Coast Guard’s offshore patrol centers. The MK 20 provides highly accurate, three-dimensional, time-tagged target position data in support of GWS operations, as well as day and night imagery to support visual detection and identification, navigation, surveillance and situational awareness. The modification also provides for radar cross section kits, shock ring kits, engineering support services, and spares for both the Navy and Coast Guard. The systems are to support the Gun Weapon Systems by performing safety check-sighting, look-point-shoot, target ranges, identification of air and surface targets in support of anti-air warfare and anti-surface warfare. Work will take place in Massachusetts and is scheduled to be completed by August 2021.
L3 Technologies and Northrop Grumman each won contract modifications in support of the Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ LB) controller, receiver, exciter, and power generation subsystems. NGJ-LB is an external radar and communications jamming pod that is carried underneath an aircraft and is part of a larger series of weapon systems contracts that are planned to ultimately replace the aging ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System currently used on Boeing EA-18G Growlers. The Navy awarded both companies more then $13 million for the modifications, which also provide for NGJ LB technique development, incorporation of updated goals documents, and environmental testing of the transmitter group. In October, L3 and Northrop won two separate $36 million technology demonstration contracts for the NGJ LB. Work by both companies is scheduled to be completed in June next year.
Middle East & Africa
According to reports, the US Marine Corps is seeking new air defense systems as it faces advancing military capabilities from Russia and China and contends with the proliferation of drone technology among small terror groups. The Corps is eyeing Israel’s Iron Dome or SkyHunter. According to a Senate briefing, the Marine Corps sought limited funding in fiscal year 2019 to begin testing and integration of the SkyHunter system with the Corps’ Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar, or G/ATOR. The Iron Dome is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometers away. It is effective day or night and in all weather conditions including low clouds, rain, dust storms and fog. It features a first-of-its-kind multi-mission launcher designed to fire a variety of interceptor missiles. The Marine Corps has reportedly considered mounting the launchers and Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptors on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, and Oshkosh’s Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement truck, or MTVR.
The UK Ministry of Defense gave Industry teams that have been bidding for the Royal Navy’s Type 31e frigate program additional financial headroom. The Ministry also loosened some commercial conditions in regard of design and build phase. The Type 31e program is for the acquisition of a class of five globally deployable general-purpose frigates geared towards forward-deployed maritime security, presence, and defense engagement operations. A few days ago it was reported that industry insiders warned of spiraling costs related to the project. The move by the Ministry of Defense means that the bidders will no longer be responsible for bearing the costs of government furnished equipment in their bids.
The US government together with the Japanese Ministry of Defense are deepening their talks about Japan’s program to develop a platform in order to replace Japan’s Mitsubishi F-2 fighter, Jane’s reports. The F-2 support fighter aircraft is a multi role single engine fighter aircraft, which also resulted from a joint Japan and USA development program. But with the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 aircraft due to be retired in the mid-2030s, Japan has begun to examine potential replacement fighter jets. Costs may be reduced through joint development with other nations and industry giants from countries such as the US and the UK have proposed development plans based on existing aircraft. Discussions between the US and Japan are currently focused on the fighter aircraft technologies that the US would transfer to Japan to support the next-generation fighter program, which Japan wants to make a decision on in the near future.
The training ground for the Taiwanese F-16 pilots at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona will be relocated to Tucson International Airport within the next two years. The relocation will cost Taiwan approximately $8 million. Taiwan’s pilots have trained at Luke Air Force Base for more than 20 years since the country purchased the first batch of F-16 fighter jets from the US. The transfer of the 21st Fighter Squadron, where Taiwanese pilots are trained to fly F-16 jets, will begin in 2020, to provide space for new F-35 fighters.
Watch: IDEF 2019 Aselsan Turkish defense industry equipment for military and security forces
May 10, 2019 04:58 UTC
a $15.3 million contract in support of the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). The deal includes design agent and engineering service efforts. According to Raytheon
, the CEC
program provides a sensor network with integrated fire control capability that significantly improves strike force air and missile defense capabilities by coordinating measurement data from strike force air search sensors on CEC-equipped units into a single, integrated real-time, composite track air picture. CEC improves battle force effectiveness by improving overall situational awareness and by enabling longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies. CEC will be designed to help the military service coordinate measurement data from sensors during strike force air search missions and facilitate battle force situational awareness. Raytheon will perform work in Florida. The scheduled completion date is in September 2022.
(click to enlarge)
Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) is the US Navy’s secret weapon. Actually, it’s not so secret. It’s just that its relatively low price means often leads people to overlook the revolutionary change it creates for wide-area fleet air and ballistic missile defense.
CEC is far more than a mere data-sharing program, or even a sensor fusion effort. The concept behind CEC is a sensor netting system that allows ships, aircraft, and even land radars to pool their radar and sensor information together, creating a very powerful and detailed picture that’s much finer, more wide-ranging, and more consistent than any one of them could generate on its own. The data is then shared among all ships and participating systems, using secure frequencies. It’s a simple premise, but a difficult technical feat. With huge implications.
This DID FOCUS Article explains those mechanics and implications. It will also track ongoing research, updates, and contracts related to CEC capabilities from 2000 forward.
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May 09, 2019 05:00 UTC
The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin an $84.9 million modification for the AEGIS combat system. The deal provides for engineering, architecture, development, integration and test as well as Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air integration and test, and training, studies and computer program maintenance. Aegis is a centralized, automated command-and-control and weapons control system that was designed as a total weapon system, from detection to kill. Lockheed will perform work in Moorestown, New Jersey. The scheduled completion date is in December this year.
Pratt & Whitney won a $55.7 million contract modification for additional funding for F135 long lead items. The deal supports the production delivery schedule, and exercises an option for additional initial spare parts. It also provides program administrative labor for the global spares pool in support of the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, non-US DoD participants and Foreign Military Sales customers.The Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan powers all three variants of the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. Ten years ago, Pratt & Whitney delivered its first production version of the engine for the F-35 fighter program. The company managed to reduce the cost of producing each engine by over half in the last ten years. It plans to continue cutting manufacturing costs in the years ahead through tight management of production processes and suppliers. Work under the current modification will take place within the US and the UK and is expected to be finished by April 2022.
BAE Systems won a $10.9 million delivery order to upgrade the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guidance section. APKWS is an add-on kit that turns a standard unguided 2.75-inch 70 millimeter rocket into a precision laser-guided munition to give warfighters a low-cost surgical strike capability. Typically the kit fits on the Hydra 70 fin-stabilized unguided air-to-ground rocket. The APKWS rocket is qualified on the AH-1W and UH-1Y helicopters, and is expected to be similarly qualified for use on several other rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. The system is available to allied forces through Foreign Military Sales. The order asks BAE Systems to combine separate guidance sections for the APKWS II intended for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft into one hardware and software solution. The APKWS II uses semi-active laser-guidance for US military and allied military aircraft. BAE will perform work in New Hampshire and Texas and the scheduled completion date is in April 2021.
Middle East & Africa
The last of 36 F-16IQ Fighting Falcon aircraft arrived in Iraq on May 3. Having ordered its F-16IQs in two batches of 18 aircraft during 2011 and 2012, the Iraqi Air Force received its first one in late 2014. However, because of the critical security situation in the country at that time, Iraqi pilots and maintainers trained on their new aircraft alongside the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing at Tucson, Arizona. The F-16IQ’s first reported combat mission came in April 2018, with a raid being flown against Islamic State targets in Syria. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced in early April this year that a new batch of F-16s would soon arrive at the Balad Air Base as part of the agreement between Iraq and the US.
Romania wants to purchase a new drone for expansion and modernization plans. The Navy seeks to purchase a completely new unmanned aerial system for the maritime and riverine domaine. The reason for this is growing tensions with Russia on the Black Sea. Romania wants to expend its presence in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and elsewhere as needed by allies as well as maintain a submarine program beyond 2030. Additionally, plans are underway to buy four new multipurpose corvettes as the core of the Romanian Navy, and to modernize its Type 22 frigates defensenews reports.
According to local reports, the upgraded version of Russia’s Su-25 will get a sighting system with artificial intelligence elements that will be able to independently identify hostile targets, keep them in sight and guide missiles. The pilot would only have to select a target on the screen and the rest would be taken care of by AI. The new technology has reportedly been integrated into the unified troop command and control system, which allows mapping an optimal route towards the target and the trajectory of using weapons. The upgraded attack aircraft will also receive data on targets from external sources through the command and control system.
Bloomberg reports that the weapons launched by North Korea on Saturday traveled into the stratosphere and flew long enough to strike deep into South Korea. The test could mean that North Korea is looking to thwart US missile interceptors, according to Kim Ki-ho, a defense professor at Kyonggi University in Seoul and former army colonel. Specifically, the weapons appeared to be flying too low to be intercepted by the US THAAD system and too fast for the Patriot System. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) is a transportable system that intercepts ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight. It can intercept missiles flying at an altitude of 40 kilometers or more. Low-altitude missiles can be defended by the Patriot missile defense system. The Patriot is is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defense system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft. Neither the US nor South Korea have confirmed North Korea fired a ballistic missile, which would be in violation of international agreements and complicate their current detente with Pyongyang.
Watch: U.S. B-52s Take off for Bomber Task Force deployment from Barksdale Air Force Base
May 09, 2019 04:52 UTC
The last of 36 F-16IQ Fighting Falcon aircraft arrived
in Iraq on May 3. Having ordered its F-16IQs in two batches of 18 aircraft during 2011 and 2012, the Iraqi Air Force received its first one in late 2014. However, because of the critical security situation in the country at that time, Iraqi pilots and maintainers trained on their new aircraft alongside the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Wing at Tucson, Arizona. The F-16IQ's first reported combat mission came in April 2018, with a raid being flown against Islamic State targets in Syria. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced in early April this year that a new batch of F-16s
would soon arrive at the Balad Air Base as part of the agreement between Iraq and the US.
Iraq’s military has made significant strides in recent years, and the country is ordering more advanced military equipment to match. A slew of 2008 requests aimed to spend over $10 billion to buy advanced armored vehicles, strengthen its national military supply chain, build new bases and infrastructure for its army, and even buy advanced scout helicopters. Budget shortfalls have stretched out those buys, but that situation is easing, even as Iraq’s air force continues to make progress.
Anxious to complete its transformation and stand fully on its own, Iraq is pushing to begin flying its own fighters within the next couple of years – and is looking to buy American F-16s, rather than the Soviet and French fighters that made up Saddam’s air force.
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May 07, 2019 05:00 UTC
BAE Systems together with Lockheed Martin have supplied the US Air Force with long-range anti-ship missiles (LRASM) for the B-1B bomber aircraft, reaching early operational capability ahead of schedule. LRASM is equipped with BAE-built sensor and targeting technology that works to detect and engage adversarial warships. Bruce Konigsberg, the company’s Radio Frequency Sensors product area director explained that the ”sensor systems provide US warfighters with a strike capability that lets them engage protected, high-value maritime targets from safe distances. The missile provides a critical advantage to US warfighters”. The system uses semi-autonomous guidance and target cueing data to precisely locate and attack targets, reducing reliance on ISR platforms, networking links, and GPS navigation, which could be compromised by enemy electronic weapons. The service branch accepted the missile systems after completing integration, simulation and flight tests aimed to demonstrate mission readiness of the technology. BAE will produce more than 50 additional LRASM sensors for integration onto the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is preparing to flight test two hypersonic weapons. DARPA director Steven Walker said during a breakfast meeting in Washington DC on May 1that both hypersonic vehicle prototypes were on track to have flights „before the calendar year ends“. One vehicle is part of the hypersonic air-breathing weapon concept, or HAWC, program. The other is the tactical boost glide, or TBG, effort. The military envisions developing TBG as an air-launched rocket with speeds faster than Mach 5 and able to reach altitudes of nearly 200,000 ft. The HAWC is also designed to be air launched but is envisioned as a hypersonic cruise missile. By the end of 2019, DARPA plans to flight test both weapons off a B-52 bomber. However, if qualifying challenges occur, Walker said the tests could extend into the early 2020 time frame. Additionally to working with the USAF on TBG and HAWC, DARPA has partnered with the US Army on the Operational Fires development program that is essentially a ground-launched capability with the TBG “front end“.
Middle East & Africa
The US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Bahrain for various Patriot missile systems and related support and equipment. The Patriot missile systems deal is for $2.5 billion and adds Bahrain to a list of 16 countries that use the system. In addition to the United States, other countries in the region using the system include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Poland, Romania and Sweden are among the other militaries to most recently acquire the Patriot system. Bahrain has requested 60 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, 36 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles with canisters, nine M903 launching stations, five antenna mast groups, three electrical power plants III, two AN/MPQ-65 radar sets and two AN/MSQ-132 engagement control stations along with communications equipment, various tools, support equipment, training, technical equipment, and engineering and logistics support services. Lockheed-Martin is the prime contractor for the PAC-3 missile.
British Typhoons officially started their NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from Amari Air Base in Estonia on May 3. The aircraft from XI(F) Squadron normally based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire already arrived on April 24 and the crew has been working with the German Luftwaffe and their Eurofighters to prepare themselves for the NATO mission of providing a Quick Reaction Alert capability off the Baltic Sea area around Estonia. The Handover Ceremony marked the replacement of the German aircraft with the British Typhoons and their crew.
On May 4, the Chinese and the Russian Navy conducted their first ever joint warship-based live-fire missile exercise as part of the Joint Sea 2019 China-Russia naval drills. The Joint Sea 2019 is the latest iteration of an annual naval exercise between China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy and the Russian Navy that has been taking place since 2012. The drill was split into two parts, with the shore part of the exercise conducted from April 29 to 30, while the sea component was set to take place from May 1 to 4 in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea. The air defense exercise started around 12:40 pm on Saturday. Upon their approaches, the Chines Navy’s destroyer Harbin and Russian Navy’s anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs launched a short-range surface-to-air missile each and successfully intercepted the two incoming threats.
The Pentagon 2019 China Military Power Report says the first Chinese aircraft carrier with catapults will enter the fleet in 2022. China began construction of its second domestically built aircraft carrier in 2018. The new carrier, which will be the third overall carrier for China, will be larger than the first domestically constructed ship and will feature a catapult launch system. According to the Pentagon report, the design will enable the carrier to support additional fighter aircraft, fixed-wing early-warning aircraft, and more rapid flight operations. China has one carrier, the Liaoning, in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Formerly a Soviet heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser, this vessel is the flagship of China’s Navy.
Watch: Airbus A400M Atlas will replace old C-130 military transport aircraft in the Belgian Air Force
May 06, 2019 05:00 UTC
Orbital Sciences, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman won a $46.8 million contract modification to provide Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target capability upgrade kits and associated engineering. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the ICBM program. The company and its industry partners were chartered with maintaining readiness of the nation’s ICBM weapon system by ensuring the system’s total performance. The 18-plus year contract delivered sustaining engineering support and two Acquisition Category I / 13 Acquisition Category III ICBM modernization programs. According to Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK has played a key role on every Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program for more than five decades. Since the Minuteman I was first fielded in 1962, Orbital ATK, along with its legacy companies, has provided motor stages and refurbishment services for the program. Last year it was reported, that Northrop Grumman and Boeing were developing competing designs for a new intercontinental ballistic missile that will replace the aging Minuteman III. Orbital Sciences will perform work in Chandler, Arizona and the scheduled completion date is in December 2023.
The US Air Force launched a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The unarmed rocket equipped with a test re-entry vehicle took off at 2:42 a.m. on Wednesday. The missile traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. According to the Air Force, the test was designed to verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system in an effort “to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent. The Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and US Strategic Command use data collected from test launches for ongoing force development evaluation.
Insitu won a $23 million modification for Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MEUAS) 1.5B intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services. MEUAS is a fee-for-service or “power by the hour” contractor-owned and operated UAV network deployed in support of Special Operations Command. It uses catapult-launched mid-sized UAVs to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to special forces on the ground. Insitu manufactures the ScanEagle UAV for the US military. The ScanEagle is an ISR-capable drone that can operate at high altitudes and has a very high endurance of over 24 hours. It carries an assortment of sensory and surveillance equipment.
Middle East & Africa
The State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missiles Segment Enhanced to the United Arab Emirates. The sale, which is valued at $2.7 billion, would entail 452 PAC-3 MSE and related equipment. The UAE requested a possible sale of 452 PAC-3 Missiles Segment Enhanced. Also included are tools and test equipment, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, facility design, US Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics, sustainment and program support.
Bahrain requested to buy 32 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles and various other weapon systems to support its F-16 Block 70/F-16V aircraft fleet for an estimated cost of $750 million. The contract also includes 32 AIM-9X missiles and 20 AGM-84 Block II Harpoon missiles among others. These weapons support the new procurement of F-16 Block 70 and upgrades of existing F-16V aircraft, providing an increase in the capability of existing aircraft to sustain operations, meet training requirements, and support transition training for pilots to the upgraded aircraft. The principal contractors for this effort will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Raytheon Missile Systems, and Boeing Corporation. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
During the IDEF 2019, Turkish company Nero Industries announced it had signed a contract to supply the Ukrainian government with 90 Umay soft-kill active protection systems. Jane’s reports, that the Umay systems uses laser warning receivers that are able to operate across either a 180° arc, or through 360°. In addition to sensors detecting laser radiation, designed to detect second-generation anti-tank systems with a laser beam guidance system, it includes the director of an aerosol smoke screen, which can counter up to eight grenades in course of countering the enemy.
India plans to build an aircraft carrier along the lines of the British HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of the „Make in India“ negotiations. The Indian Navy wants to buy detailed plans for the 65,000-ton British warship to build a so-called “copycat supercarrier“, named INS Vishal. The Sunday Mirror reports that „an Indian delegation has already visited Rosyth dockyard in Scotland where HMS Queen Elizabeth was assembled and where a second supercarrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is now being built“. The report notes that such a new Naval carrier would serve alongside India’s 45,000-ton carrier INS Vikramaditya. The design for UK aircraft carriers is owned by the British and French aerospace giants BAE and Thales. The reported India-UK Naval deal would follow the sale of Britain’s Falklands War carrier HMS Hermes to India in 1987.
Watch: IDEF 2019 SSB Turkish Defense industry defense and security products for military market Turkey